Authentication in E-Learning systems: Challenges and Solutions

ABSTRACT Digitization is gradually penetrating all aspects of modern society. As it changes the way people communicate, technology has revolutionized education and training in the 21st century. With the advantages of reasonable costs and flexible study time, online training is increasingly seen as an attractive alternative to the full-time on-campus training model. To assure quality of distance training and learning, it is crucial for the online learning management system to make sure the person accessing the course resources and performing learning activities is actually enrolled in the course. One of the important factors determining the security of this process is user authentication. In most cases, this role is done with a password, but the evidence shows that this method is easily compromised. While there are many alternatives available such as biometric methods, user-challenging methods, smart card methods, etc. The strong development of technology that requires confidentiality and authentication must be tightly coupled. A qualitative survey of user authentication systems is being used in today's E-learning systems and a comparative study of various different authentication mechanisms presented in this paper. There are many methods of user authentication for online learning systems, but each method will have different advantages and disadvantages and has not completely solved the challenges of user authentication. The issue of user authentication still has many challenges that need to be solved thoroughly to improve the security of the system as well as the trust of users and society. This paper provides an overview of our approach and recommendations to address the mentioned issues. In addition, we propose a number of feasible approaches to improve user data privacy as well as improve the effectiveness of the authentication process in the online learning system.

pdf7 trang | Chia sẻ: thanhle95 | Lượt xem: 506 | Lượt tải: 0download
Bạn đang xem nội dung tài liệu Authentication in E-Learning systems: Challenges and Solutions, để tải tài liệu về máy bạn click vào nút DOWNLOAD ở trên
Science & Technology Development Journal – Engineering and Technology, 3(SI1):SI95-SI101 Open Access Full Text Article Review Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, VNU-HCM, Vietnam Correspondence Quang-Huan Luu, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, VNU-HCM, Vietnam Email: huanluuquang@gmail.com History  Received: 28-7-2019  Accepted: 23-8-2019  Published: 04-12-2020 DOI : 10.32508/stdjet.v3iSI1.516 Copyright © VNU-HCM Press. This is an open- access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Authentication in E-learning systems: Challenges and Solutions Quang-Huan Luu*, Duy-Minh Nguyen, Hoang-Anh Pham, Nguyen Huynh-Tuong Use your smartphone to scan this QR code and download this article ABSTRACT Digitization is gradually penetrating all aspects of modern society. As it changes the way people communicate, technology has revolutionized education and training in the 21st century. With the advantages of reasonable costs and flexible study time, online training is increasingly seen as an attractive alternative to the full-time on-campus trainingmodel. To assure quality of distance train- ing and learning, it is crucial for the online learning management system to make sure the person accessing the course resources and performing learning activities is actually enrolled in the course. One of the important factors determining the security of this process is user authentication. Inmost cases, this role is done with a password, but the evidence shows that this method is easily compro- mised. While there are many alternatives available such as biometric methods, user-challenging methods, smart card methods, etc. The strong development of technology that requires confi- dentiality and authentication must be tightly coupled. A qualitative survey of user authentication systems is being used in today's E-learning systems and a comparative study of various different au- thentication mechanisms presented in this paper. There are many methods of user authentication for online learning systems, but eachmethodwill have different advantages anddisadvantages and has not completely solved the challenges of user authentication. The issue of user authentication still has many challenges that need to be solved thoroughly to improve the security of the system as well as the trust of users and society. This paper provides an overview of our approach and recommendations to address the mentioned issues. In addition, we propose a number of feasible approaches to improve user data privacy as well as improve the effectiveness of the authentication process in the online learning system. Key words: Decentralized Authentication, Privacy, Merkle Tree, Blockchain INTRODUCTION Many top universities in the world have launched online courses up to master level such as the Mas- sachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Univer- sity and the University of Pennsylvania. By collabo- rating with online training platforms such as Cours- era and edX, these institutions have opened entirely remote courses via the Internet. The distance learning process is facilitated by an on- line learning management system (also known as dis- tance learning or e-learning system). This is a set of software applications that manage the teaching and learning process and the examination procedures1. With no more than an Internet-connected computer, a student can access lectures, books and other learn- ing materials, ask questions, submit assignments, and take graded tests just like with traditional learning methods. Originally, the e-learning management sys- tem was simply a piece of software that enabled a user to do different things online, including playing lecture video clips and participating in discussion forums. With the current needs, however, the online learning management system has grown into an independent educational environment2. Students no longer have to go to lecture halls tomeet their instructors; instead, they can interact via the Internet. Some online learn- ing platforms even allow the students to remotely take exams or go through the admission procedure with- out visiting the campus. This online learning method requires learners to be proactive in their work. To assure quality of distance training and learning, it is crucial for the online learning management system to make sure the person accessing the course resources and performing learning activities is actually enrolled in the course. From the point of view of computer science, the point is to identify and reference a person in the real world as a user in the system. The entity in the system or the user identifier is represented by access to a computer location or resource2. In an on- line learning management system, it is the right to ac- cess learning materials, interact with instructors and peers, submit assignments, and take exams. Theman- agement of user identification and authentication is among the challenges facing security researchers. The remainder of this article is divided into five sec- tions. In the next one, we present some security Cite this article : Luu Q, Nguyen D, Pham H, Huynh-Tuong N. Authentication in E-learning systems: Challenges and Solutions. Sci. Tech. Dev. J. – Engineering and Technology; 3(SI1):SI95-SI101. SI95 Science & Technology Development Journal – Engineering and Technology, 3(SI1):SI95-SI101 challenges facing online learning systems, analyzing the security elements and risks when authenticating based on user attributes. The following section pro- vides an overview of our approach and recommenda- tions to address the mentioned issues. The overall ar- chitecture and assessment will follow after that. The final section summarizes our key findings and pro- poses future research directions. CHALLENGES OF USER AUTHENTICATION IN E-LEARNING SYSTEMS For online training systems to continue growing and be accepted as an official form of training free of dis- crimination, security issues must be thoroughly ad- dressed 3. The system must demonstrate its reliability and win the trust of users and the society regarding its quality of training and transparency, especially in on- line tests. One prominent challenge is how to know if a student’s performance in the system is indeed his or hers. In traditional training, academic records includ- ing transcripts and examination results are stored and managed via written documents. Today, both online and offline training systems employ digital records, and digital data seem more likely to be erased or al- tered than are physical data4. Therefore, it is impera- tive for students’ online learning results to be stored and processed in a clear, objective and transparent manner. Let’s have a closer look at this challenge via two common security issues: identity misuse and in- tegrity of students’ academic results. Identity misuse A student’s identity in the system is used by another person. Possible causes: the student actively shar- ing the account or the account being attacked. Two testing-related scenarios could take place as follows: • The online test is conducted in a controlled envi- ronment, on a university’s premise for instance. This is common in most of today’s educational institutions. Students study remotely on the e- learning platform, then when the time comes for term-end exams, they come to the institu- tion’s campus to take the test, which is usually hosted online. Before entering the examina- tion room, students present their student iden- tification (ID) card to the examination officer for identity verification. When the number of students is large, this process is laborious and sometimes impractical. It is also open to error as the officer may be unable to determine if the ID card holder is its legitimate owner. • The online test is conducted in an uncontrolled environment, off campus where educational in- stitutions do not have any control over student identity. This is a typical situation for most on- line learning platforms. It is then the learn- ing management system’s job to ensure the test- taker is a legitimate registrant on the system. In the two cases above, the objectivity and reliability of the E-learning system, particularly of online test- ing, depends on its ability to ensure testing results are free from cheating, involuntary or voluntary tamper- ing, and impersonation. This challenge pertains to au- thenticating test-takers, online or offline. When ap- plying the right authentication mechanism, the edu- cational institution can rest assured that student iden- tity is in good check both before and during the test. Integrity of students’ academic results This aspect concerns the storing and handling of stu- dents’ academic results4. This is particularly vital if the outcomes of distance learning are to be seen as equal to traditional training outcomes. Tradition- ally, student results are kept and maintained in paper records. In online learning, these records are stored digitally, often in databases. Undesirable data alter- ations happen when an intruder attacks the system, acquires unauthorized access to the record database, andmodifies test results and transcripts. On the other hand, it is expected for users to perceive these (digital) data not as “real” (as written data) and open tomodifi- cations and deletion. In these cases, the challenge is to ensure data integrity and guarantee the transparency of students’ learning results. REVIEWOF EXISTING AUTHENTICATIONMETHODS D/Password-Based Authentication User ID/Password is one of themost common authen- tication mechanisms used in online systems. Regard- less of user type and user role, each user has a unique identifier to distinguish it from other users. Usually in the authentication process, the user ID is used along with the password. Users must provide both login in- formation correctly to gain access to the system or ap- plication. This ID is used to assign permissions, mon- itor user activity and manage common activities on a specific system, network or application. Like other information systems, E-learning systems often use user ID and password as the main authenti- cation mechanism. Regarding passwords, people of- ten choose a password that is easy and intuitive; To- day people have to have different passwords to be SI96 Science & Technology Development Journal – Engineering and Technology, 3(SI1):SI95-SI101 authorized in many different systems. There- fore, these passwords are often similar and not complicated enough. The registration number or date of birth is used5 as well as the name and they have a habit of writing them on paper or some other place. To create a good password some rules must be followed (avoid personal names, use special characters, use capital let- ters, etc.). Passwords generated by following rules are not intu- itive and not easy to remember so users can forget their passwords. With the known risks of the authen- tication system through accounts and passwords such as disclosure, theft or users actively share this account with others to attend school instead. E-learning sys- tems have used other methods to authenticate user identifiers. Biometric-Based Authentication Authentication based on biometrics or characteristics is done by verifying the physical or behavioral char- acteristics of an individual6. Biometrics frees users from having to memorize passwords or carry them, because users themselves are locked to identify 7. Sev- eral biometric authentication features have been de- veloped in recent studies and implemented in online learning systems including: fingerprint recognition8, iris identification, face recognition9,10, identification audio or combining these features in multimodal bio- metrics 5,11–17. Behavior-Based Authentication The behavior-based authentication uses devices such as smartphones, smartwatches or other IoT devices. All of these devices offer a wide range of sensors that can detect different kinds of user behavior. The user behavior outcomes are processed and consolidated into a single value called the trust level. This trust level is sent to web services instead of passwords, the web service determines which trust threshold is needed to access their service or what features are available18,19. User authenticationby challengequestions Based on the assumption that only the user knows his personal information and his past activities, the user attributes- based authentication model challenges the user with a set of security questions. These questions are generated based on user attributes, behavior, and past activities20. Only by passing these questions can a user prove that he is an entity with the correspond- ing attributes in the system. Challenge questions are created by extracting per- sonal information such as social security number, day of birth, place of birth, student ID number. This infor- mation is managed based on the authentication sys- tem. A user profile includes user-specific information that is sensitive. This record is typically stored at the verifier and then used to verify their verification re- quest21. Based on these conventional authentication methods, various instants for solving the authentication chal- lenges have been studied and proposed. These ap- proaches can be divided into three different categories corresponding to what you know (knowledge-based), what you have (ownership-based), and what you are (inherent- based). Table 1 summaries our investiga- tion on the existing authentication methods. The first drawback of knowledge-based is to memo- rize many passwords and passwords that are complex and difficult to remember, which can lead to confu- sion between passwords. The second is shoulder surf- ing, in which an outsider can track the user’s key- board. Passwords are easily attacked by dictionary- based and exhausted methods. It is worth noting that some graphic passwords are also unavoidable with screen capture methods. In contrast, an inherent-based model is more difficult to break down than a knowledge-based model. How- ever, the lack of this model such as high implemen- tation costs, scars, sunglasses and surgery can cause problems and affect the accuracy of the system. Re- play attacks and some fake methods can easily over- come biometric authentication methods. Finally, the ownership model requires users to bring additional physical devices such as security codes, smart cards, and so on. Accordingly, if the user loses his physi- cal device, it will generate some security concerns be- cause anyone who finds it can log into the system. Further intermediate attacks are threats that can cause problems by collecting data sent by users and servers. Each authentication model has a number of threats and drawbacks thatmust be considered during the de- sign process, which is summarized in the Table 2. Since the inception of authentication, a number of methods have emerged. Given the scope of the article, we hereby briefly review the advantages and disadvan- tages of some of them in Table 3. THE PROPOSED APPROACH Secure Method to Store Authentication Data A hash table is an abstract data structure commonly used to map key and value pairs. A hash function that computes an index into an array in which an element will be inserted or searched. To compute an index, SI97 Science & Technology Development Journal – Engineering and Technology, 3(SI1):SI95-SI101 Table 1: Categoriesof existing authenticationmethods Ownership-based Inherent-based Knowledge-based NFC RFID Physical keys Smart card Hardware token Smart phone/Smart watch Fingerprints Face Voices Iris Retina Palm Gestures ID/Passwords PIN codes Lock pattern Graphical password Challenge response Table 2: Threats and drawbacks of existing authenticationmethods Ownership-based Inherent-based Knowledge-based Usability High costs MITM attack Losing devices Stealing token Required additional hardware Forgery method Accuracy issue Surgery and scars High Costs Lights and clothes Replay attack MITM attack Keylogging Shoulder surfing Brute force attack Dictionary attack Screen capturing MITM attack Memorability Table 3: Review of existing authenticationmethods Methods Advantages Disadvantages Ref. Password/ID based Simple and familiar to the user Don’t require additional hardware. Low cost. Low security, easy to attack 22,23 User profile based Don’t require additional hardware. Low cost. Risk of personal information disclosure of users 21,22 Smart card based Multiservice and flexibility. Easy to use. Data integrity. Need more hardware device eg ”smart card readers”. Low accuracy of information. 24,25 Biometrics-based Improved customer experience. Easy to use Always able to carry with users Require additional hardware. Biometric features can be compromised. Affected by environment and usage. High cost. 22,26,27 Multifactor based Multiple identity authentication fac- tors can be combined. Authentica- tion reliability improvement. Complicated process, lack of user friendli- ness. High cost. 26,28 also known as a hash code, into an array of groups or positions, the desired value can be found. A good hash function that will compute the computational complexity for finding an element in the hash table is O (1). Hash trees can be used to ensure data integrity for storage, processing, and transmission between com- puters. The main use of a hash tree is to ensure that blocks of data received from different nodes in the same peer network are received undamaged and un- damaged. Encoding is a method for turning information from a normal format into information that cannot be under- stood without themeans of decoding it. Encryption is essential to secure sensitive information that is passed through two nodes on the network. It is the method of providing data security and end-to-end protection of the data. Encryption is often used to ensure that users’ personal data is transmitted, stored securely, and free frommalicious attacks or hacks. This encryp- tion keeps the data protected and can only be read by the person holding the secret key. SI98 Science & Technology Development Journal – Engineering and Technology, 3(SI1):SI95-SI101 A linear dimension reducing transform that projects the profile and the verification data to a lower dimen- sion space, while preserving relative distances of the vectors and so correctness of authentication. Ensure the Integrity of User Authentication Data User authentication data needs to be absolutely se- cure. In particular, this data needs to be guaranteed to not be changed to pass the authentication step of the system. There have been many attacks on user databases to steal and modify user in- formation for many nefarious purposes. This leads to the need for storage methods to ensure the transparency and in- tegrity of the data. With these strict requirements, blockchain becomes a potential candidate with its preeminent characteristics. Blockchain technology is commonly known for its ap- plications in the monetary and banking sectors, but it works a little differently from the typical bank- ing system. Instead of relying on centralized regula- tors, it guarantees the functionality of the blockchain through a set of nodes. This technology ensures im- mutability, blockchain keeps the information in the best security, not lost, modified and stolen. Trans- parency and makes it anti-corruption where every node on the system has a copy of the digi- tal ledger. Same rules of consensus so that every node needs to check the validity of a transaction
Tài liệu liên quan